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Temporary respite for under-fire PUMA as Equator nears

Nice sailing conditions on deck at sunrise. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 ©Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Nice sailing conditions on deck at sunrise. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 ©Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

PUMA’s dive towards the Brazilian coast appeared to have paid off early on Monday, buying them valuable miles -- and temporary respite -- against Leg 6 challengers Telefónica and CAMPER.

Ken Read’s crew had their hearts in their mouths for most of Sunday as they watched their rivals close their lead in the race to Miami to a worrying two miles.

However, after gybing just after passing the latitude of Fortaleza in the north east of Brazil, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG saw speeds rocket close to 20 knots and at 0700 UTC on Monday were enjoying a small but significant 25-mile buffer.

They were also the fastest boat in the fleet at the latest position report, averaging almost 18 knots.

At 0700 UTC PUMA were around 25 miles from the Equator on their current north-westerly heading -- but second-placed Telefonica could well enter the Northern Hemisphere first due to their position to the east of PUMA.

The Equator crossing will be the fleet’s fourth and last of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.

They will then face the Doldrums, a band of moveable low pressure lying just above the Equator characterised by squalls.

At the latest position report Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were in fourth place around 65 miles behind, with Groupama a further 50 miles adrift.


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